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Breakfast of Champions

Director/Writer:Alan Rudolph
Hollywood Pictures; R; 110 minutes
Release:9/99
Cast:Bruce Willis, Albert Finney, Nick Nolte, Omar Epps

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s brand of speculative fiction mashed with satiric Americana and temporal disorientation doesn't really transfer to film. Breakfast of Champions, based on the popular novel of the same name, is one of those movies which tries admirably hard but is outpaced by its subject matter.

Bruce Willis stars as Dwayne Hoover, a successful car salesman baffled by his somnambulant role within the American Dream. His dealership is a touchstone location, with waves of weirdness radiating outward from Hoover's media-soaked, apparitional car lot. Ubiquitous novelist Kilgore Trout (Finney) arrives, catalyzing Hoover's quest for self-definition and/or insanity. Caricatures abound, from Nick Nolte's transvestite car-dealing sidekick to Hoover's massively dysfunctional family to Omar Epps as a yet another delusional salesman. Surreal episodes ebb and flow around challenging source material, slightly stumped by the novel's oddball intensity.